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July 4, 2009

Serena Williams


S. WILLIAMS/V. Williams
7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Serena Williams for you.

Q. How hard is it for you to beat your sister? And do you think you'll be able to cheer her up with a doubles victory later on?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It definitely wasn't easy. First of all, she's a great player, especially on this surface, especially out there on that court. Also she's my sister, someone that I want to see win and do well at all times.

Q. Did you feel sorry at all for her because of her seeming limited mobility because of her knee problem?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I thought she was moving really, really fast, so...
I didn't even think about that at all. I was really focused on pretty much what I was doing on my side of the court.

Q. What do 11 major titles mean to you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, it's unbelievable. Like I just feel really good. I feel like now I'm just not even in a competition of how many I can win. It's just now I'm looking at the next goal of someone like Billie Jean King, who is completely my idol. To get to her level and have 12 would be even better.

Q. You said obviously she's the favorite two days ago because she had won all these matches and sets in a row. When you went out there, did you definitely believe you could win, and did you know what you could do against her?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, actually, you know, this is one of the few times I didn't expect to come out with the win today. I felt like I had nothing to lose. I defended every point that I had from last year. I felt like all I had to do is go out there and do my best, you know, just stay even, because she's such a good player.
When I won that first set, I was like, Wow, this is great. No matter what, I'm a set away. So I was just trying to relax.

Q. It seemed like you just kept going for the corners to open up the middle, moving her from side to side. Was that the whole idea?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, today I just wanted to move the ball around better than I did in my past few matches. And, uhm, you know, I was just trying to do that. I wasn't really thinking about.
I mean, to me, she gets every ball back. So I was just thinking about making my shots and trying to play better than I did in my last round.

Q. We see overt emotion and fist pumps against other opponents. You're subdued when you play against Venus. Is that out of being respect for being her sister? Do you have to catch yourself?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I didn't catch myself. I was really excited when I won the first set, and then a couple points before that, before the first set.
After that I really wanted to stay calm because I felt like I was getting closer to the goal, and I didn't want to get -- sometimes if I get too pumped or if I grunt too loud I lose. I just want to stay relaxed, stay calm, and stay focused more than anything.

Q. How would you compare this run versus '02/'03?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I feel like this run is great. I should have won the French Open, or at least I should have had a chance. But, you know, I'm really excited that I, you know, had an opportunity to win this tournament.
It's good. You know, it's really exciting. You know, I feel like ten years ago I won my first Grand Slam, and I'm still winning championships.

Q. Do you still feel at that level? How do you compare the feelings of those two different dominant eras?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel like I'm a little bit of a better player because I'm more experienced now and I know more what to do and I know how to play the tough moments.
Competition I think is even better now. I mean, there's so many great players that are winning every week.

Q. Today when did you actually feel that you were playing against your sister?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, not at all. I didn't think about Venus at all today. I just saw her as, you know, an opponent. At one point, after the first set, I looked on the side of the court at the stats, and it was like Williams, Williams. I couldn't figure out which was which, but uhm...

Q. Who gets to call your father? Because he doesn't want to know, does he? He just wants to mow the grass.
SERENA WILLIAMS: I can't imagine being in the position that my dad and my mom is in. I definitely give my dad the respect. He obviously is going to know who won. I really respect them so much.

Q. May you tell us a little bit more about that shirt. Did they prepare it before and then you choose it, or they tell you afterwards and you say you like it or I don't like it? If you had lost, was there another shirt, or that was for your sister?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, this shirt is available in Nike stores, if you guys want to go (smiling). If you want to go get one, everyone can have it. I've been wearing it a little bit this week. I thought last night when I was getting my stuff together, I thought, Well, if I win, I'll wear this 'cause I'll have 11 titles, and I wouldn't know if you guys were looking at my titles or my Gatorade bottle.
And there was -- yes, there was another shirt if I didn't win.

Q. Which would have said what?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It was just a Nike shirt.

Q. Did you get to speak to your sister privately after the final? If not, before the doubles final will you have the opportunity to meet privately? What will you say? Will you speak about the final?
SERENA WILLIAMS: We don't really talk too much about the final. I've been busy. I had to do a cool-down. We still have doubles. We're still trying to get ready for that.
Afterwards, I'm definitely going to go in and get ready for the next match. We want to do well.

Q. Looking at the honors board on TV after the match, what were your feelings when you were looking at all the names and you were sort of tracking your own name?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Actually, I felt like my name should have been there at least once more. At least I got in another one.

Q. Roger Federer spoke earlier about wanting to play on for many more years. He's regarded as the greatest men's player. Do you want to go down as the greatest women's player?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, that would be a great legacy. I'm really just playing for me, whether I'm the greatest or not. I can't even put myself in a sentence with the greatest, because I think of people like Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf and Billie Jean King. You know, they were such great champions.
To even be mentioned with those people is a real honor to me. I feel like I'm really young. I feel like I'm only thinking about my career and continued playing.

Q. Do you have a prediction of the outcome of tomorrow's men's final?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I'm American, so obviously I'm rooting for the American.

Q. And do you think who will win?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I mean, I think Roger's definitely the favorite. He's been playing so well. But, you know, I love Andy. He's such a great person. He's a good friend of mine. Obviously I want to see him do well.

Q. What was your immediate reaction when you won the final point? Elation? Disbelief? I got the championship back? What were you thinking?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I was definitely thinking, like, Gosh, that ball was out. Thank God. Did she hit it in the net? I don't know. I was thinking, God, I didn't choke on another match point. I was thinking it was good to be over, 'cause I really didn't want to serve. I kept trying to break. That's all I could think about.
And I was excited. Like, Wow, I won Wimbledon. It's been so long. It felt really good.

Q. You just mentioned Martina and Steffi and Billie Jean. You just stopped your sister from joining those as the only people who have won three straight Wimbledon titles. Does that feel strange at all? Obviously as an athlete you have to be completely ruthless and selfish. But as a sister, it must be odd to keep her out of a place among legends.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Not really. She's already among a legend. She's won seven Grand Slams on her own, five being Wimbledon. You can't compare that, because she's a living legend right now.

Q. Could you talk about when you were match point down against Elena? Is that something you'll reflect on down the line a little bit? Do you think you were courageous to go up to the net, or maybe lucky she didn't strike a winner? Or that's tennis?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I just think almost every Grand Slam I've won I've been down match point in a match before, a lot of 'em. No more than at least two Australians. Definitely here at Wimbledon. Maybe another time, I don't know.
But I'll think about it when my career's over in like 20 years.

Q. What does that say about you, that you've been able to come back from those situations?
SERENA WILLIAMS: It makes me feel good, because the match is never over until you shake the opponent's hand. It's like you never give up and you always keep fighting. It's just a good lesson for life, not even just in sports, but in life as well.

Q. Talking about legacy, is it more important winning more titles or what you are doing in Africa with your school with young kids?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, like I said, when I went to Africa and when we opened that school with HP, Hewlett Packard donated all those computers, that was better than holding up the trophy today. You see these people who are living souls who you actually are helping to learn, help get an education, which can ameliorate their country.
I feel like for me that was the most wonderful moment in my career.

Q. Fair or not, there have been periods when people felt like you lost your focus. Do you feel like you have the hunger and the desire to maybe chase down Martina's or Chrissy's 18?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Since the beginning of my career, I never said I wanted to chase down their records. But, you know, that's a long ways away. So many tough players, and Venus. You know, I don't think about that. I'm just taking it one at a time. I mean, I'm really excited to now have just won Wimbledon.
You're asking me about 18. I'm only at 11 (laughter). They're such great players. Like I said, when I think of those people, I don't really mention myself yet.

Q. Why do you think you are the best on big points? How do you think you got that way?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Well, I love playing big points, and I just love, you know, the opportunity to be pressured. You know, Billie Jean King wrote once, Pressure is a privilege. Being able to work with her on Fed Cup, just as a person, she's really been able to help me understand that it's a privilege to feel that pressure.

Q. Back to the match point. It was so contrary to the way you had been playing. Did something just say inside you, I've got to get to the net, do or die?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I usually go kamikaze when I'm down. So if I'm goon go out, I'm going out, you know, like a hero or something. Nothing to lose. That's kind of how I felt.

Q. How much of a motivation is it for you to try and regain the world No. 1 ranking?
SERENA WILLIAMS: You know, I'm not super motivated. I think if you hold three Grand Slam titles maybe you should be No. 1, but not on the WTA Tour obviously, so...
You know, my motivation is maybe just to win another Grand Slam and stay No. 2, I guess (laughter).

Q. Does that disappoint you?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No. If it did, I would go crazy just thinking about it. I think anyone really could. That's just shocking. But whatever. It is what it is. I'd rather definitely be No. 2 and hold three Grand Slams in the past year than be No. 1 and not have any.

Q. Do you see yourself as No. 1?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I see myself as No. 2. That's where I am. I think Dinara did a great job to get to No. 1. She won Rome and Madrid (laughter).

Q. How satisfying is it to have played as much as you've played this year, perhaps more than other years, and here you are sitting holding three Grand Slams? It's kind of annoying for the other girls, isn't it really?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel like I've played a lot this year, and I've really been paying the price. For several years now, at least three or four years, I just really wanted to focus on tennis, and I've really been doing that. I feel like, you know, this is where I want to be, and this is my chance to capitalize on everything.
I really enjoy it. I even started playing more doubles because I enjoy being out on the court so much. I think it's pretty much all paying off.

Q. We all know the slams are the key events in our sport. Do you think someone somewhere should sit down and maybe tweak the ranking system a little bit so we don't have this problem?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Uhm, I mean, maybe if I'd have done better at the French Open, like got to the semifinals, maybe things would have been different. But, uhm, honestly, I'm not picking on anybody. Everyone works hard.
I think the girl, Dinara, who is No. 1, you can clearly see by her physique how hard she works. You can't get anywhere by not doing the best and not working your hardest.
So, you know, I'm happy for her. I'm really excited that I won Wimbledon, though, because, like I said, I'd rather win that than not win the Championships.

Q. With all due respect, we're just talking about the system on paper the way the computer works. Do you think that should be changed?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I don't know. I don't know what can be changed. I feel like I've had a pretty consistent year, though, you know. I haven't lost too early. I got a little injured, but I fought through it. So it's been pretty consistent reaching at least the further rounds of different events.
But I don't know what to do to be No. 1. I don't even care anymore. I'm just happy to be here.

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